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Zucchini Lasagna (Gluten-free)

I’ve made zucchini lasagna before, but not for many many years.  I knew what I wanted in it, I just needed tips on how to bake it.  I checked a few online recipes that suggested 400°F for 30 minutes and was confident I could do this.  Wow,  I underestimated the amount of work this endeavor would be.  It took me 4 hours to get two pans into the oven!  But we loved it so so much!  Leftovers were welcomed!

I started with asking my P.S. (Preparer of Slices/ hubby) to slice up a bunch of zucchini for me on the mandolin.  That thing terrifies me.  He did a great job but I did a poor one in telling him how many to slice.  Let’s just say we had enough slices left over to make about 6 more lasagnas.  Oops.

While my P.S. sliced, I browned 6 lbs of ground beef, well seasoned then put it into a large pot with a few large cans of crushed and diced tomatoes.  I added one can of tomato sauce as well.

We added diced fresh basil, dried oregano and crushed fennel (my secret ingredient that makes the dish), stirred occasionally and let it cook down a bit.

While the sauce cooked I diced 4 sweet bell peppers and two onions and sautéed them in a nonstick skillet.  When they were beginning to brown, I added a tablespoon of minced garlic and stirred for a minute.  I poured the vegetable mixture into the pot of sauce along with three medium sized cans of sliced black olives and let it continue to simmer.

I had 3 tubs of ricotta that I emptied into a bowl, added 4 eggs, salt and pepper, and a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.  I also added a tablespoon of dried parsley flakes.  I stirred well and set the ricotta mixture aide.

The meat sauce simmered for about an hour total, and it was so fragrant!  I knew that the zucchini would make the lasagna a bit watery since it wouldn’t absorb liquid like pasta noodles would have.  But I was making this a gluten-free recipe as one family member cannot handle gluten.  So I had reduced the meat sauce liquid down by simmering it longer than usual and added some cornstarch slurry to thicken it more.

4 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved into a half cup of cold water then stirred into the sauce worked well.  I let the sauce simmer for about 20 more minutes and it was nicely thickened.

I was finally ready to layer the lasagna into my pans.  I used a lasagna pan that is a few inches larger than the second pan, which was 9×13 inches.  I spread some sauce on the bottom of each pan before layering, no grease or spraying needed.

I layered the zucchini slices (round ones, not the long ones that don’t cut well when serving!) ub an overlapping pattern over the bottom.

Next I spread a good amount of sauce over the slices of zucchini.

The third layer was a good drizzle of ricotta, spread with a small offset spatula.

I sprinkled a good portion of shredded Parmesan then shredded mozzarella on top of the ricotta and started over.  Zucchini, meat sauce, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella.  I did 3 layers in the large lasagna pan and slid it into the preheated over.

I quickly (not so quick actually, it takes time!) repeated the layers in the 9×13 inch pan but lost track and the pan ended up with 4 rounds of layers.  Oh well, it wasn’t in danger of overflowing so that was fine.

I baked the large pan for about 45 minutes then removed it from the oven to set.  I did the same with the smaller pan because it contained more layers.

At the family gathering the lasagna was a hit.  I received so many compliments I think I had a bigger hat size for awhile.  Even 3 year old Anya said she really liked it.  That’s a huge compliment, when you can please a child!

Zucchini Lasagna

  • Servings: 30
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A gluten-free veggie lasagna that is so flavorful you'll never miss the pasta.

  • sliced zucchini (I guessed wild, maybe 3 lbs?)
  • 6 lbs ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 sweet bell peppers; diced (I used yellow and red)
  • 2 large onions; diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 medium sized cans of sliced black olives
  • 3 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel (I grind the seeds in a doffee grinder)
  • 48 ounces ricotta
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • – 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • giant bag shredded mozzarella
  • 6 1 1/2 cup bags shredded Parmesan
In a nonstick skillet fry ground beef, well seasoned with salt and pepper, in batches until crumbled and cooked. Transfer to a large pot. Add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and fennel. Stir well and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about an hour.

Sauté sweet bell peppers and onions in the skillet until beginning to brown. When almost done, stir in garlic and cook for another minute. Transfer to pot with sauce.

In a large bowl mix ricotta, eggs, garlic powder, salt and parsley with a fork. Set aside.

In a lasagna pan, spread a then layer of meat sauce. Place zucchini slices in overlapping pattern over sauce. Pour more meat sauce over zucchini and spread evenly.

Drizzle layer of ricotta and spread evenly with a small offset spatula.

Sprinkle 2/3 a bag of Parmesan over ricotta layer followed by a large handful of mozzarella.

Repeat layers: zucchini, meat sauce, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella. I made 3 layers of each.

In 9×13 inch pan I repeated the layers but made 4 layers of each.

I baked each pan for 45 minutes at 400°F then let them set covered in foil for about 45 minutes before serving. Then were still hot.

 

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